The Master of Social Work (MSW) is a professional degree designed prepare students for ethical and competent trauma-informed social work practice. Our graduates are trained to be direct practitioners, advocates, and leaders who make a difference in the lives of clients and communities impacted by trauma.
The Master of Social Work program prepares advanced professional social workers for ethical and competent trauma-informed social work practice across diverse and different populations at micro, mezzo, and macro levels of practice.
- Educate advanced social work practitioners with knowledge, values, and skills necessary for ethical and competent practice across diverse and different populations with a focus on trauma-informed social work practice. [Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Competencies 1 & 2]
- Engage students in a process of practice-informed research and research-informed practice. (CSWE Competencies 4 & 7)
- Prepare social workers to provide regional leadership in the development and implementation of policies, programs, and services that support human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice and understand the ways trauma impacts all levels of practice. (CSWE Competencies 3 & 5)
- Develop social workers who exemplify a commitment to the social work core values while engaging, assessing, intervening, and evaluating trauma-informed practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. (CSWE Competencies 6, 8 & 9)
- A minimum of 60 credit hours of graduate coursework;
- A grade point average of B (3.0 on a 4-point scale) or better; and
- Grades of B- or better in all courses counted toward the degree.
- 27 Credit Hours Generalist Practice Courses
- 21 Credit Hours Specialized Practice Courses: Trauma Informed Social Work Practice
- 12 Credit Hours Electives
Generalist Practice Courses (27 Credit Hours)
* Generalist Field Practice Sequence
Specialized Practice Courses: Trauma Informed Social Work Practice (21 Credit Hours)
All generalist practice courses must be completed before taking specialized practice courses.
** Specialized Field Practice Sequence
Field practice is an integral sequence of the MSW curriculum as it is the signature pedagogy for social work. As such, MSW students are matched with various social service agencies, government entities, private organizations or even non-traditional social work settings. Students complete a minimum of 400 hours in the generalist practice year of study (SWRK 5111 & 5112) and a minimum of 500 hours in the trauma informed specialized practice year of study (SWRK 6111 & 6112).
Elective Courses (12 Credit Hours)
Students may choose to focus these elective hours around an area based on their interests and career goals. To help students target educational areas unique to social work practice, social work elective offerings are designed around five high-need areas in the field: military social work, healthcare social work, school social work, child welfare training, and community development. Not all courses are offered every year.
When appropriate, students may include elective courses offered by other departments and schools of the University, with prior written approval of the MSW Director.
Culminating Experience Requirement: Portfolio
MSW students are required to complete a portfolio as their culminating experience. The portfolio is represents a culmination of all of the work accomplished in the MSW program and is administered during the Trauma Informed Seminar (SWRK 6113). Details about the portfolio are included in the MSW Student Handbook.
The Master’s Thesis is an opportunity for students to conduct a comprehensive review of the theoretical and research literature in a subject area and collect original data or analyze existing data in new ways. Thesis requires 6 credit hours of coursework taken over two semesters and counts toward the MSW’s elective credit hour requirement. The thesis option is available to MSW students who have achieved an exceptional academic record and who wish to pursue independent research. Thesis is suited for students who intend to pursue a PhD degree or to enter a research or policy environment upon completion of the MSW degree.
Minimum eligibility requirements for pursuing a thesis are included in the MSW Student Handbook. Please note, student who complete the Thesis must also meet passing requirements on the comprehensive examination.
MSW Program Policies and Procedures
The MSW policy and procedures are outlined in the MSW Student Handbook. The MSW program does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.
SPA Policies and Procedures
Refer to the School of Public Affairs General Information section of this academic catalog for detailed eligibility criteria, policies, and procedures relevant to this program.
Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Accreditation Competencies
- Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
- Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
- Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
- Engage in Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
- Engage in Policy Practice
- Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Commitment to Cultural Diversity and Social Justice
As stated in the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) for MSW Degree Programs in Social Work Education, UCCS Social Work faculty and students shall:
- “Act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin [or ancestry], color, sex [gender], sexual orientation, age, marital status, political belief, religion [creed], mental or physical disability, or socio-economic status” [NASW Code of Ethics, 6.04(d)].
- Practice within the defining principles of “service, social and economic justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships and integrity and competence” (CSWE, 1.0).
- “… Enhance human well-being and alleviate poverty, oppression, and other forms of social injustice” (CSWE, 1.0).
- “… Develop and apply practice in the context of diverse cultures” (CSWE, 1.0).